It’s been a big week for cancer news, as we blogged about yesterday.
The Government’s report on progress against the Cancer Reform Strategy showed how much cancer survival varies across the country, and another story presented figures from Professor Mike Richards, National Cancer Director, estimating that earlier diagnosis could save between 5,000 and 10,000 lives a [...]... Read more »
von Wagner, C., Good, A., Wright, D., Rachet, B., Obichere, A., Bloom, S., & Wardle, J. (2009) Inequalities in colorectal cancer screening participation in the first round of the national screening programme in England. British Journal of Cancer. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605392
Stubbings, S., Robb, K., Waller, J., Ramirez, A., Austoker, J., Macleod, U., Hiom, S., & Wardle, J. (2009) Development of a measurement tool to assess public awareness of cancer. British Journal of Cancer. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605385
During the 2008 primaries, the Clinton campaign was accused of altering footage of Barack Obama to darken his skin tone. Supposedly, this would activate negative stereotypes of Americans towards Black people; possibly following the same logic that Time magazine applied in 1994 when it darkened the face of O.J. Simpson for its cover.
Whether or not this type of (subtle) manipulation actually suffices to swing people's decisions for something as important as an electoral vote is questionable (it ........ Read more »
Caruso EM, Mead NL, & Balcetis E. (2009) Political partisanship influences perception of biracial candidates' skin tone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 19934033
Intracellular proteins have to be degraded, more or less at the same rate as new proteins are produced (or the cell would eventually burst). On the other hand, you can’t go about degrading proteins willy-nilly. There are vast and complex systems for identifying proteins that should be destroyed, tagging them, and then moving them into [...]... Read more »
Pierce, N., Kleiger, G., Shan, S., & Deshaies, R. (2009) Detection of sequential polyubiquitylation on a millisecond timescale. Nature, 462(7273), 615-619. DOI: 10.1038/nature08595
What do you do when a keystone species goes extinct causing major disruption to ecosystem interactions and processes?
Christine Griffiths and fellow researchers offer a controversial solution to this problem for the case of the extinct giant tortoises endemic to the Mascarene islands. Introduce two exotic species of giant tortoises to replace the ones that have gone extinct.... Read more »
Griffiths, C., Jones, C., Hansen, D., Puttoo, M., Tatayah, R., MÃ¼ller, C., & Harris, S. (2009) The Use of Extant Non-Indigenous Tortoises as a Restoration Tool to Replace Extinct Ecosystem Engineers. Restoration Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2009.00612.x
You know it’s December when it starts snowing in your web browser.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
snowStorm = new SnowStorm();
If only we could make more constructive use of all the time that we spend asleep. People have tried playing various tapes to themselves while they're dozing, from foreign vocab lists to stop-smoking mantras, but they're all the wrong side of useless. What we do know for sure is that sleep is important for memory consolidation, if only we could tap into this somehow. Now, finally, John Rudoy and colleagues have provided some elusive evidence for how learning during sleep can be enhanced.Twelve pa........ Read more »
Rudoy, J., Voss, J., Westerberg, C., & Paller, K. (2009) Strengthening Individual Memories by Reactivating Them During Sleep. Science, 326(5956), 1079-1079. DOI: 10.1126/science.1179013
Of all the sources of structural variability in proteins, the hardest to pin down is side-chain conformational heterogeneity. Side chains aren't always easy to model into their primary conformation in the first place — you need excellent crystal diffraction or NMR data to do it. Even if you pulled that off, it's not always clear how (or if) side-chain fluctuations relate to a protein's activity. If we carefully examine our data for the faintest signals, however, we can sometimes find evide........ Read more »
Fraser, J., Clarkson, M., Degnan, S., Erion, R., Kern, D., & Alber, T. (2009) Hidden alternative structures of proline isomerase essential for catalysis. Nature, 462(7273), 669-673. DOI: 10.1038/nature08615
As part of my Ph.D thesis, I have to generate a lot of transcriptional fusions (constructs in which a promoter of choice is cloned in front of a reporter gene in order to evaluate transcriptional regulation. Such plasmids can then be transformed into your model organism to study this regulation in vivo).Traditionally, this involves amplifying the region of interest (in my case a promoter region) ... Read more »
MA, H., KUNES, S., SCHATZ, P., & BOTSTEIN, D. (1987) Plasmid construction by homologous recombination in yeast. Gene, 58(2-3), 201-216. DOI: 10.1016/0378-1119(87)90376-3
Oldenburg KR, Vo KT, Michaelis S, & Paddon C. (1997) Recombination-mediated PCR-directed plasmid construction in vivo in yeast. Nucleic acids research, 25(2), 451-2. PMID: 9016579
Gibson, D. (2009) Synthesis of DNA fragments in yeast by one-step assembly of overlapping oligonucleotides. Nucleic Acids Research, 37(20), 6984-6990. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp687
Why such a title? The abstract of this article promises to highlight six areas of supply chain risk and discuss these at length, showing how they are endemic to the extended enterprise, and develop a typology for categorizing them. And indeed, a lengthy discussion it is, hence the “rambling”. That said, it is a lengthy discussion not to be missed.
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Spekman, R., & Davis, E. (2004) Risky business: expanding the discussion on risk and the extended enterprise. International Journal of Physical Distribution , 34(5), 414-433. DOI: 10.1108/09600030410545454
A wide range of naturally occurring number collections show a very distinct pattern: They more often feature a "one" as their first digit than any other number. This distributive feature has been described as Benford's law. Benford's law is an intriguing classic well worth (re-)appreciating; especially since it is often misunderstood...... Read more »
IBM’s Almaden Research Center announced in November that it had produced a “cortical simulation” of the scale and complexity of a cat brain. This simulation ran on one of IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputers, in this case at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL):
Scientists, at IBM Research – Almaden, in collaboration with colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley [...]... Read more »
R. Ananthanarayanan, S. K. Esser, H. D. Simon, & D. S. Modha. (2009) The Cat is Out of the Bag: Cortical Simulations with 109 Neurons, 1013 Synapses. Proceedings of the Conference on High Performance Computing Networking, Storage and Analysis , 1-12. DOI: 10.1145/1654059.1654124
A new study in the Journal of Neuroscience reports that significant reductions in cortical volume occur during normal aging over the span of only one year. The researchers collected MRI data from 142 healthy elderly people aged 60-91 (60 is elderly? Really?). Cortical volume reduction was detectable in several regions, but most prominently in temporal and prefrontal cortices which of course includes regions involved in language function. No wonder I can't remember names anymore... Fjell, A., ........ Read more »
Some marine creatures build more shell in acidified waters
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Ries, J., Cohen, A., & McCorkle, D. (2009) Marine calcifiers exhibit mixed responses to CO2-induced ocean acidification. Geology. info:/10.1130/G30210A.1
Algal blooms are a phenomenon in which algal populations in a marine area proliferate rapidly, creating a water-column shield that blocks sunlight and oxygen. These blooms are usually attributed to rises in nitrogen levels from human agriculture and industrial runoff, which fertilize the algae. But a study in the current issue of Ecological Applications shows [...]
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Eriksson, B., Ljunggren, L., Sandström, A., Johansson, G., Mattila, J., Rubach, A., Råberg, S., & Snickars, M. (2009) Declines in predatory fish promote bloom-forming macroalgae. Ecological Applications, 19(8), 1975-1988. DOI: 10.1890/08-0964.1
In New Zealand, the national accident insurer, Accident Compensation Corporation, has been reviewing its pain management service contracts. The latest message from both the Government and ACC is the need to reduce costs (not that I’ve ever heard anyone say ‘let’s go for broke, let’s spend all we can!’) and one way to do [...]... Read more »
Pincus T, Vlaeyen JW, Kendall NA, Von Korff MR, Kalauokalani DA, & Reis S. (2002) Cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychosocial factors in low back pain: directions for the future. Spine, 27(5). PMID: 11880850
Remember the Zicam debacle? To catch you up, Zicam has been promoted for years as a "homeopathic cold remedy". It is of course neither. Since it contains measurable amounts of zinc, it isn't "homeopathic", and since there is no cure for the common cold, it's not a remedy. In addition to having neither of it's promoted qualities, the FDA has received hundreds of reports of people losing their sense of smell (became "anosmic") after using intranasal Zicam. As Steve Novella has pointed out, th........ Read more »
Lim, J., Davis, G., Wang, Z., Li, V., Wu, Y., Rue, T., & Storm, D. (2009) Zicam-Induced Damage to Mouse and Human Nasal Tissue. PLoS ONE, 4(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007647
Having taken a brief look at some plastids last week, I thought I should probably balance things out by writing about mitochondria; the energy generating centres of the (eukaryote) cell. Like plastids, mitochondria are thought to originate from endosymbiosed bacteria-like organisms and are often shown as looking something like the picture on the right. As well as creating energy in the form of ATP mitochondria are also involved in the B-oxidation of fatty acids (producing energy from fats), Iron........ Read more »
Benard G, & Karbowski M. (2009) Mitochondrial fusion and division: Regulation and role in cell viability. Seminars in cell , 20(3), 365-74. PMID: 19530306
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I have blogged extensively about the Autism and Schizophrenia as opposites on a continuum theory. I remember first putting this theory in words in an article 3 yrs back on the mouse trap titled Autism and Schizophrenia: the two cultures. That 2006 article, in turn, was inspired by Daniel Nettle’s 2005 article in [...]Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Related posts:CNVs and Autism/ Schizophrenia I had been meaning to comment on a recent paper...Autism, Schizophreni........ Read more »
Crespi, B., Stead, P., & Elliot, M. (2009) Evolution in Health and Medicine Sackler Colloquium: Comparative genomics of autism and schizophrenia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906080106
HA structure showing mutating amino acids1
Anyone who’s taken a virology class, and many who haven’t, know about “antigenic drift” and “antigenic shift”. These are usually used to explain influenza virus changes over time (although of course the same concepts apply to many other viruses). Antigenic shift refers to large, abrupt changes in the [...]... Read more »
Hensley, S., Das, S., Bailey, A., Schmidt, L., Hickman, H., Jayaraman, A., Viswanathan, K., Raman, R., Sasisekharan, R., Bennink, J.... (2009) Hemagglutinin Receptor Binding Avidity Drives Influenza A Virus Antigenic Drift. Science, 326(5953), 734-736. DOI: 10.1126/science.1178258
Males are sexually coercive. During initial encounters with the opposite sex, they will go to great lengths to impress and entice; they’ll offer gifts, sing, dance, and do whatever else is necessary to win a female’s affections. However, should these preliminary advances be rejected, the males from a multitude of different animal species will unhesitantly apply the tactics of deceit, intimidation and even brute force to satisfy their reproductive drives. ... Read more »
Hettyey, A., Baksay, S., Vági, B., & Hoi, H. (2009) Counterstrategies by female frogs to sexual coercion by heterospecifics. Animal Behaviour, 78(6), 1365-1372. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.09.006
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